Two Settlements Address DBCS Staffing And Employee Orientation Disputes

September 1, 2016

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The APWU and USPS signed two important Step 4 settlements recently, Industrial Relations Director Tony D. McKinnon Sr. has announced. 

On Aug. 24, with the help of Assistant Clerk Craft Director Lynn Pallas-Barber, McKinnon reached agreement with the Postal Service on the issue of whether the “normal staffing” of two clerks per machine on Delivery Bar Code Sorters (DBCS) should be a minimum requirement.

The settlement is designed to address the union’s concerns about safety when DBCS machines are staffed by just one person.

  • The agreement notes that pursuant to Article 14.1 of the contract, “It is the responsibility of management to provide safe working conditions in all present and future installations and to develop a safe working force.” In addition, it notes that, “In accordance with the Employee and Labor Relations Manual (ELM), Section 891, ‘The Postal Service complies with applicable federal laws, regulations, and OSHA guidance materials regarding ergonomics.’”
  • The settlement addresses exceptions to the two-person staffing requirement outlined in the 2012 Joint Contract Interpretation Manual (JCIM) [ on p. 274, Article 36, p. 76 Q&A] It says, “The exceptions described in the JCIM Q&As must not be considered an alternative to the scheduling of 2 Mail Processing Clerks on the DBCS.  During the periods described in the JCIM Q&As, the parties further agree the second Mail Processing Clerk may perform allied duties as assigned in the OCR-BCS-DBCS area”.
  • The agreement stipulates that there will be a special meeting of the Safety & Health Committee at the national level within 90 days (on or before Nov. 24, 2016) to discuss the establishment of a task force to investigate and address safety issues specific to the DBCS. 

“The agreement is bolstered by specific references to safety, as outlined in Article 14 and the Employee and Labor Relations Manual,” McKinnon said. He requests that locals monitor management’s compliance with the settlement and report instances of non-compliance to his office so that they may be communicated with the Postal Service at the national level for quick resolution. 

Employee Orientations

An Aug. 23 agreement  stipulates that APWU representatives will be given ample opportunity to address new employees whenever:     

  • New career or non-career employees are hired;
  • Postal employees from non-APWU crafts are reassigned to crafts represented by the APWU, and
  • Non-career employees become eligible for the Postal Service Non-Career Health Care Plan (USPS Plan) or newly-converted Postal Support Employees (PSEs) become eligible for the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) program.

Previously managers weren’t living up to their obligation to provide orientation in these circumstances.

“These Step 4 Settlement Agreements address two long-standing disputes that have resulted in numerous grievances,” McKinnon said.


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